The risks of social exclusion. An empirical analysis of uncertain life situations and chances of social participation (PhD-Dissertation)


In recent times politics and science have used the term social exclusion to describe the risk of certain social groups of being excluded from participation in social life. Social participation in this context is widely defined to include economic, social, cultural and political aspects. Uncertain working conditions and unemployment are key parts of this process, although there is as yet no consensus on definitions and dimensions of social exclusion, and empirical verification is still under way. In its methodology, the project attempts to work empirically with the concept of social exclusion; the aim is to examine crucial aspects of the discussion on exclusion such as polarisation of social structures, vulnerability of the middle classes of society, accumulation of social discrimination, and low chances of participation in precarious life situations. The project is based on the assumption that indicators of subjective experience of exclusion have not been adequately taken into account by empirical research. It will demonstrate who is affected by the risk of social exclusion in both East and West Germany, and how relevant certain types of discriminations are in generating a feeling of exclusion in different social groups. Here the crucial question is what kind of social structures allow the transformation of objective life situations into subjective experiences of exclusion. This implies an extensive look at the relevant social science theory and at the common usage of the concept of exclusion in politics and science. The starting point for the analysis is recent research that stresses the necessity of a multi-dimensional and dynamic approach to poverty and discrimination.

Main content


Secondary analysis of individual data, research design: cross-section, longitudinal section, trend and period of time data.

Selected Publications

Böhnke, Petra (2006): Am Rande der Gesellschaft. Risiken sozialer Ausgrenzung. Verlag Barbara Budrich, Opladen.

Böhnke, Petra (2005): Mittendrin und trotzdem draußen? Soziale Ungleichheit in Deutschland. In: WZB-Mitteilungen 110, S. 34-37.
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Böhnke, Petra (2005): Teilhabechancen und Ausgrenzungsrisiken in Deutschland. In: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 37/2005, S. 31-36.
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Böhnke, Petra (2004): Am Rand der erweiterten Union. Soziale Ausgrenzung aus Sicht der Europäer. In: WZB Mitteilungen 105, S. 37-40.
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Böhnke, Petra (2004): Perceptions of Social Integration and Exclusion in an enlarged Europe. European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Commission.
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Böhnke, Petra (2002):Die exklusive Gesellschaft. Empirische Befunde zu Armut und sozialer Ausgrenzung. In: Stefan Sell (Hrsg.), Armut als Herausforderung. Bestandsaufnahmen und Perspektiven der Armutsforschung und Armutsberichterstattung, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, S. 45-64.

Böhnke, Petra (2002): Armut und soziale Ausgrenzung im Alter. In: Geene, R. / Gold, C. / Hans, Ch. (Hrsg.), Armut und Gesundheit. Gesundheitsziele gegen Armut - Netzwerke für Menschen in schwierigen Lebenslagen, Teil I, Berlin: b_books, S.172-179.

Böhnke, Petra (2002): Armut und soziale Ausgrenzung im europäischen Kontext. Politische Ziele, Konzepte und vergleichende empirische Analysen. In: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte B 29-30/2002, S. 29-38.
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Böhnke, Petra (2001): Nothing left to lose? Poverty and Social Exclusion in Comparison. Empirical Evidence on Germany. WZB discussion paper, FS III 01-402, 2001.
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